If you spend any time at The Bazaar, José Andrés' restaurant in the SLS Hotel, you will be impressed with the smoke-and-mirrors, fun-house motif -- Monty Python, maybe, if they'd been born Spanish -- that includes not only the decor but the playful food. Nitrogen clouds. Food in tin cans. And if foie gras cotton candy doesn't suit you, there are plenty of other things on the menu. Simple things, in fact. Things you can easily make at home without a nitrogen canister or a kitchen allowance or a chemist's bag of tricks.
Pancakes, for starters. Made with olive oil, the Spaniard's happy weapon of choice rather than butter, and the first thing the chef suggests (read our interview with Andrés) you put in your pantry. These olive oil pancakes are served with seasonal mixed berries at Tres, one of the nested restaurants-within-a-restaurant at The Bazaar, and with dark chocolate in Andrés' recipe, which is from his cookbook Made in Spain: Spanish Dishes for the American Kitchen. (Oh, just make them with both.) Nitrogen clouds optional.
Olive Oil Pancakes (Tortitas de aceite de oliva)
From: Made in Spain: Spanish Dishes for the American Kitchen, by José Andrés with Richard Wolffe.
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 ½ cups buttermilk
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more if necessary
1/3 cup dark chocolate, preferably Spanish, broken into small pieces
¼ cup honey
Fresh mint leaves
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1. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a mixing bowl. Whisk in the egg, buttermilk and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until you have a smooth batter, then stir in the chocolate pieces.
2. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-low heat. Ladle ¼ cup of the pancake mixture into the pan and cook until golden brown.
3. Flip the pancake with a spatula and cook until golden brown on the second side. Transfer the pancake to a warm oven.
4. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding more olive oil to the pan as needed. To serve, drizzle the pancakes with honey and garnish with mint.